1. ITV Report

Coleman critical of referee after Wales defeat

Wales' Gareth Bale is chased by Belgium's Axel Witsel Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Wales manager Chris Coleman felt his side had been on the wrong end of some poor refereeing decisions as they started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Belgium in Cardiff.

The Dragons had made a solid start to their opening Group A fixture against the heavily-fancied visitors at Cardiff City Stadium before James Collins was shown a straight red card by Swedish official Stefan Johannesson for a reckless lunge on Guillaume Gillet after 25 minutes.

The West Ham defender and several of his team-mates appeared exasperated by the decision, but replays suggested the 29-year-old had few grounds for complaint.

The hosts' hopes crumbled from that moment as Vincent Kompany's 42nd-minute header and Jan Vertonghen's ferocious free-kick seven minutes from time gave Belgium the three points.

But Coleman was highly critical of the sending-off, and Gillet's behaviour following the challenge.

I didn't think it was a red card. Maybe I am biased. I think the referee sent him off because he went on the reaction of the player who was on the floor, who incidentally went on to finish the rest of the 90 minutes.

Correct me if I am wrong - football is a contact sport. It was not a malicious tackle. I have been in football long enough to know what a leg-breaking tackle is and that was not it, so it is not a red card in my book.

I am not going to punish James. We can't let teams like Belgium come here and stand off them - you have to get close and make contact.

– Chris Coleman

Coleman was also less than impressed with the decision to penalise captain Aaron Ramsey for a foul on Romelu Lukaku, which allowed Tottenham defender Vertonghen to fire home the clincher.

The free-kick against us at the end that they scored from was not a free-kick. Watch it as many times as you like.

One player is running behind the other, Lukaku goes to shoot, he does not know Aaron is behind him, Aaron is not trying to make a challenge, but he gets his legs caught between Aaron's. It ends up as a free-kick and a goal.

– Chris Coleman

Wales were without several first-choice players with Joe Allen, Craig Bellamy, Neil Taylor, Andrew Crofts and Wayne Hennessey all absent.

Liverpool midfielder Allen was a late withdrawal through illness, but Coleman is hopeful he will be available for Tuesday's meeting with Serbia.